Monday 4 January 2010

Siberian Conditions and Siberian Chiffchaff

Monday 4th JanuaryYesterday I found a very pallid brown looking chiffchaff in the company of a couple of very yellow/green Chiffchaffs just west of the Otter. I decided to return yesterday afternoon and see if it responded to Siberian Chiffchaff call and although it did not actually call it did come within 2 metres of me on at least 5 occasions. So today, I returned with one of the regulars to see if I could get some better photos and to also see if I could get any reaction to Siberian Chiffchaff song. After two hours of studying the bird in the freezing cold and no response to the song, I managed to get some record shots. More importantly though, the bird called of its own accord at least 4 times giving a weak high pitched single note similar to a Bullfinch - Just right for Siberian Chiffchaff. This along with the plumage features would seem to suggest Tristis.
BBRC consider the id of Tristis to be based on the following criteria:- Absence of olive in the crown and mantle

- Absence of yellow away from the underwing
- Presence of warm buff in the supercilium and ear coverts
- Presence of buff at the breast sides/flanks
- Very black looking bill and legs
- A thin piping near monosyllabic Bullfinch-like or Dunnock-like call
- A song markedly different to western Chiffchaff's

British Birds is due to produce a Tristis id paper later this year.

Although photos are always difficult to judge true plumage colour, the record shots below (click on photo to see larger images) give you an indication of some of the above features - Better to see the bird in real life though. The bird is frequenting the small pool by the kissing gate at,82993&st=4&ar=y&mapp=map.srf&searchp=ids.srf&dn=885&ax=307095&ay=82993&lm=0

Guess I better send in my description........

Other birds of note today included Cetti's Warbler,
Grey Wagtail and Water Rail


  1. Very nice bird Jaffa and shame it wasn't around last week. I had two birds together in 2008 that look identical to your bird. I can email you some photos if you like to compare.

  2. Heyup Mr T

    Nice find...... Did it sound like this ?

  3. Good to hear from you Gary and Happy New Year to you!
    Thanks for the video clip - Yep, just like that!

    PS - Loved your Morocco photos, it is a great place - Are you sure it was a honeymoon and not a secret birding trip???